Elements of Graphic Design

02/27/19 by Bev

Previously we talked in general about the proper use of graphics so now let’s talk about the elements of graphic design. Graphic design has two basic elements:

  1. Content (which is also referred to as Copy)
  2. Layout

Keep in mind the ultimate goal of your exhibit graphic: get the prospect to stop in as little as 3 to 5 seconds and approach the exhibit. It doesn’t matter why they stop as long as they do.

Let’s start with Content/Copy:

Here are six things you should keep in mind when writing your copy:

  1. Use upper and lower case text as it’s easier to read than all caps
  2. Use keywords and headlines that differentiate you from competitors, such as, “cut costs, save time, save money, fastest, newest, or easiest.”
  3. Use names that people would recognize. It doesn’t do much good to say, “Come see the new LB 4500.”
  4. Know your ideal customer. Talk to them directly in your message.
  5. Questions make great and effective headlines.
  6. Talk to your sales staff to identify keywords that your ideal client would focus on.

I want to go back to 5 for a minute. Exhibit Edge used this questioning technique for a trade show by asking a simple question, “Can your Exhibit Company do this?” We put this question over top of a big photo of an extremely backward bent index finger. You can see the bent finger pulled way back to an impossible angle. It would be an understatement to say that we generated a lot of buzz over this simple question.

People would come to the exhibit with a postcard in hand and ask whose finger that was. They just had to know. The whole idea was to get people curious enough to stop and ask – which they did, a lot. Now the postcard was actually a pre-show mailer which also told the customer to stop by the exhibit to receive a gift and, of course, we would answer the question.

The answer is “yes” if the exhibit company has an in-house graphic design like Exhibit Edge. We literally modified the graphic because we are able to remove, relocate and touch up the finger in the photo to create the illusion of the over-bent finger. Pretty sneaky – but it worked. We’ve dubbed it the “ew” factor instead of the “wow” factor.

Now let’s move on to the Layout:

Just like with content, we’ve got six things for you to keep in mind when planning your layout:

  1. Information should be visible at least 10 feet away. Keep it clean. Negative or blank space doesn’t mean you have to fill it.
  2. Always incorporate your corporate logo for customer retention.
  3. Avoid black text – use colored text.
  4. Use striking images and people photos over simple product only photos.
  5. Reserve the bottom of the graphic for website and other general information as furniture and people can block the view. Put key headlines at eye level.
  6. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Imagine what the customer sees walking down the aisle

Now that you’re a little more familiar with the basic elements of graphic design, what do you need to change about your exhibit graphics? Stay tuned for more tips from Exhibit Edge.

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